West has no right to give or refuse Syrian people legitimacy – Assad's advisor
This week's Bashar Assad victory in the Syrian presidential poll with 88.7 percent of the vote, Shaaban says, clearly shows that even a war-torn country has the right to decide its own future, as some 11 out of 15 million went to the polls.
“We are not really waiting for legitimacy from the West,” Shaaban said, accusing Western and Arab countries of targeting Syria, arming and financing the brutal opposition in a 3-year-long conflict. “The Syrian people not only voted for President Assad, I think they voted for Syria. They voted against foreign intervention.”
As Syrians went to the polls on Tuesday, US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf described the vote as “a disgrace,” saying Assad “has no more credibility today that he did yesterday.”
“Detached from reality and devoid of political participation, the Assad regime-staged election today continues a 40-year family legacy of violent suppression that brutally crushes political dissent and fails to fulfill Syrians' aspirations for peace and prosperity,” said Harf.
In response to Western, and especially US criticism of the election, Shaaban once again reiterated that the US does not set the global legitimacy standards.
“I would like to say to all Western officials who say they will not acknowledge it – gone are days when legitimacy was derived from the West. The West has no right to give our people legitimacy. It is the Syrian people who make this election legitimate. Its neither William Hague, nor the US, nor France.”
Syrians, the media adviser says, don't care what West thinks what because citizens are certain “that Western countries only target us, only want to destroy our country.”
She says the elections were legitimate and even in war-torn regions of the country people managed to vote.
“When we studied the country, most of the population are in areas where they can vote. We are not talking about geographical space. We are talking about people... People are mobile, they are not buildings that you can’t move from one place to the other. And therefore Syrian people voted and said their vote.”
Furthermore, Shaaban says President Assad did everything in his power to ensure that other contenders in the 7-year-term presidential race received maximum public exposure to allow a democratic choice in the country.
“Since the nomination of the three candidates, president Assad decided not to give any interviews to any media, not to give any speeches, not to make any public appearances in order to give space to two candidates so they can give the interviews, they can talk to people, so they get more known. I think President Assad did his best to elevate the chances of the other two candidates.”
As far as the fate of post-election Syria, Shaaban says that everyone “wants to restore peace and security” and to rebuild the country. The focus will also be on reconciliation.
“They want to build their country. And they want to do reconciliation, Syrian – Syrian reconciliation.”